Where to stay in Nashville first time: 7 Best areas & safe neighborhoods

Wondering Where to stay in Nashville for the first time? What is the best area in Nashville? Which area to avoid? In this post, I will help you to find the best areas and safe neighborhoods to stay in Nashville for first-time visitors, and the best hotels in Nashville for all budgets. 

Nashville is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Tennessee, located in the north-central part of the state along the Cumberland River. It is known for its vibrant music scene, particularly in country music, and is often referred to as the Music City.

The city has numerous music venues, honky-tonks, and recording studios. The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum are some of the iconic places that celebrate Nashville’s musical heritage.

Nashville is renowned for its Southern cuisine and hot chicken. Hot chicken is a local specialty – fried chicken coated in spicy seasoning. You can enjoy a wide range of dining experiences from classic Southern fare to modern culinary delights.

Centennial Park is a popular spot in Nashville, featuring the replica of the Parthenon, a well-known landmark. The city has many other parks and green spaces where residents and visitors can enjoy outdoor activities.

Nashville is home to Vanderbilt University and Belmont University. The city has a diverse cultural scene with art galleries, theaters, and festivals that celebrate various forms of art.

Is Nashvile safe to visit?

Yes, Nashville is generally a safe city for tourists. But, to ensure a safe trip, as in any unfamiliar city, you should exercise the basic precautions for travel such as be aware of your surroundings, avoid wandering off the beaten track alone at night, and stay in popular tourist areas.

While the city has a high property and violent crime rate, the vast majority of violent crime is isolated in certain areas that visitors wouldn’t have any reason to visit. 

Some of the safest areas in Nashville to book your accommodations include Downtown, the Gulch, Midtown, West End, Hillsboro Village, and Music Valley. Avoid staying in Bordeaux, Talbot’s Corner, West Meade, Salemtown, and Four Corners.

Where to stay in Nashville first time?

The best areas to stay in Nashville for first-time visitors are Downtown, The Gulch, Midtown, West End, Hillsboro Village, East Nashville, and Music Valley. These are popular and safe parts of Nashville for tourists, offering plenty of accommodation options for all budgets.

Downtown is the best overall base in Nashville because it has the highest concentration of the major attractions and hotels. It offers easy access to the famous Broadway, the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as a lot of honky-tonk bars and live music venues.

The Gulch is a trendy and upscale neighborhood, while Midtown, West End, Hillsboro Village offers a quieter atmosphere and more affordable accommodation options. Music Valley is a great base for a family holiday in Nashville.

During my trip to Nashville, I stayed at the mid-range Omni Nashville Hotel. It was a great hotel in Downtown, close to everything, including the Music City Center, and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The breakfast buffet was great. My room was clean and comfortable.

Below is the map of areas and neighborhoods in Nashville for first time. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of best areas/neighborhoods to stay in Nashville first time
Map of best areas/neighborhoods to stay in Nashville first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Nashville. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Nashville have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Best areas to stay in Nashville for first time visitors:

1. Downtown Nashville

Downtown Nashville is the best overall area in Nashville for first-time visitors due to its central location, proximity to major attractions, live music venues, honky-tonk bars, restaurants, and shops. It also offers a widest range of accommodations for all budget travelers.

Downtown is home to Broadway (nicknamed Nashvegas), a famous honky tonk highway, packed with bars and live music venues and is a major draw for visitors looking to experience the city’s renowned music scene.

Additionally, Downtown is home to popular landmarks like the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bridgestone Arena, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Symphony, Frist Art Museum, and Johnny Cash Museum, Music City Center, Tennessee State Capitol, among others.

Downtown is relatively compact, making it easy for visitors to explore on foot and take in the sights and sounds of the city. You don’t need to spend much money on taxis, Lyft, or Uber.

The Cumberland River runs alongside Downtown, and the Riverfront Park offers a pleasant place to relax and enjoy views of the water.

The area boasts a diverse range of restaurants, serving everything from traditional Southern cuisine to contemporary dishes.

The Downtown area is bustling with nightlife and live music performances, offering an exciting experience for those who want to immerse themselves in Nashville’s music culture.

Throughout the year, Downtown Nashville hosts a variety of festivals and events, including the CMA Fest, the Nashville Film Festival, and various holiday celebrations.

Due to its popularity, Downtown and Broadway areas tend to be crowded in the evening. Bars and restaurants can be expensive compared to other parts of the city.

Overall, Downtown is the best base for first-time visitors, families, and couples seeking a central location, with vibrant nightlife, and proximity to major attractions to do sightseeing. The area along Broadway is a great location for those seeking bachelorette or bachelor parties.

Best places to stay in Downtown Nashville first time:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Hermitage Hotel, 5-star hotel, located within walking distance from Ryman Auditorium, the city center, and Bridgestone Arena. Also close to  Johnny Cash Museum, Nissan Stadium and Tennessee Performing Arts Center.
  • Mid-range ($$): Fairlane Hotel Nashville, by Oliver, 4-star boutique  hotel, located  in the heart of downtown Nashville, within easy walk from the live music and entertainment on the famed Broadway Avenue.
  • Budget ($): TownePlace Suites Nashville, 3-star aparthotel, centrally located in Nashville, close to Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium and Bridgestone Arena. 

2. The Gulch

The Gulch is a trendy and upscale neighborhood, just southwest of downtown. It has become one of Nashville’s most sought-after areas for both residents and visitors due to its proximity to downtown and its diverse range of activities and amenities.

The Gulch offers a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, showcasing Nashville’s culinary scene. You can find everything from Southern comfort food to gourmet dining options. 

Additionally, the neighborhood hosts live music venues and nightlife hotspots that contribute to its lively atmosphere. The Station Inn is a great place to visit for fans of bluegrass music.

There are boutique shops, upscale retailers, and art galleries in The Gulch, making it a shopping destination for both locals and tourists.

The neighborhood is characterized by modern apartment complexes and condominiums, attracting young professionals and individuals who prefer urban living.

One of the landmarks in the area is The Gulch Hotel, which might refer to the Thompson Nashville hotel, a boutique hotel known for its stylish accommodations and rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city.

Best places to stay in Nashville in The Gulch:

  • Luxury ($$$): W Nashville, 5-star hotel, located within a short distance from attractions such as Johnny Cash Museum, Vanderbilt University, and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.  
  • Mid-range ($$): Thompson Nashville, part of Hyatt, 4-star boutique hotel in The Gulch, a short drive from Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
  • Budget ($): Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott, 3-star hotel in Nashville city center,  in the middle of The Gulch restaurant district, and close to Broadway.

3. Midtown

Midtown is a vibrant and popular neighborhood located just west of downtown Nashville. It is known for its lively atmosphere, diverse dining options, nightlife, and proximity to various attractions. 

Midtown offers a wide array of restaurants, bars, and live music venues. The area is especially known for its selection of eateries, ranging from traditional Southern cuisine to international fare.

Nashville is often referred to as “Music City,” and Midtown contributes to that reputation with various music venues and bars hosting live performances. You can expect to find a mix of genres, including country, rock, blues, and more.

Midtown  is less touristy and quieter than Downtown Nashville. It is popular with young professionals and college students, making it a great base to experience local life.

In Midtown, you can find Music Row, which is home to numerous recording studios where many legendary country artists and musicians have recorded their music. These studios have played a significant role in shaping the sound of country music over the years.

Midtown is adjacent to Vanderbilt University, one of the city’s most prestigious institutions. The university campus adds a youthful and academic element to the neighborhood.

Located just to the west of Midtown, Centennial Park is a large urban green space featuring the iconic Parthenon replica, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike.

Midtown’s central location makes it easy to access other parts of Nashville, including downtown, The Gulch, Broadway, and West End.

Best places to stay in Nashville in Midtown:

  • Mid-range ($$): Graduate Nashville, 4-star hotel, close to Vanderbilt University, offering  a rooftop bar with skyline views, a restaurant, and a karaoke bar. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Kimpton Aertson Hotel, an IHG Hotel, 4-star boutique hotel, located in Nashville’s Music Row district, within walking distance from Vanderbilt University.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hutton Hotel, 4-star eco-friendly hotel, situated in the heart of downtown Nashville’s Midtown neighborhood, within walking distance from Music Row and Vanderbilt University.

4. West End

Similar to Midtown, West End is a vibrant, central neighborhood, with lively nightlife and more affordable accommodation compared to downtown Nashville.

A highlight of West End Nashville is Centennial Park, a large urban park known for its full-scale replica of the Parthenon, which serves as an art museum and event venue.

It offers easy access to Vanderbilt University, one of the city’s premier educational institutions. The university’s campus is an integral part of the neighborhood and contributes to its youthful and academic atmosphere.

Also located within walking distance or a short Uber/Lyft  from Midtown and Elliston Place.

Best places to stay in Nashville in West End first time:


5. Belmont/Hillsboro Village

Belmont/Hillsboro Village is situated next to 12 South, just a few miles southwest of downtown Nashville, making it easily accessible to the city’s main attractions and business districts.

One of the neighborhood’s highlights is Belmont University, a private Christian liberal arts university known for its excellent academic programs and beautiful campus. The university adds a youthful and academic flair to the area.

Hillsboro Village offers a mix of local boutiques, indie vintage shops, restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment venues. It’s a great place to walk around, shop, and experience the local culture.

Hillsboro Village is home to Belcourt Theatre, a local theater with films and performances. It is located within walking distance from Belmont Boulevard, Music Row, and Midtown.

The neighborhood is home to charming historic homes, apartments, and condominiums. It attracts a diverse community of students, young professionals, families, and retirees.

Best places to stay in Nashville in Hillsboro Village:

  • Mid-range ($$): Moxy Nashville Vanderbilt, 4-star hotel, located within walking distance from Belmont University and Belmont Mansion.
  • Budget ($): Sonder Belcourt, easy access to Hillsboro village with a vibrant artistic and cultural scene, and a wide range of boutiques, eateries, and hip cafes. Also close to  Belmont Mansion and Belmont Boulevard with its many bars.

6. East Nashville

East Nashville is a residential neighborhood located in the eastern part of Nashville. It has become one of the city’s trendiest and most vibrant areas, known for its diverse culture, artistic community, and unique character.

East Nashville is composed of several diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and vibe. Some of the well-known neighborhoods within East Nashville include Lockeland Springs, Five Points, and Eastwood.

The neighborhood boasts a mix of historic homes and charming bungalows, giving it a distinct vintage feel. Many of these houses have been renovated and preserved, adding to the neighborhood’s charm.

East Nashville is known for its locally owned shops, boutiques, and vintage stores. It’s a great place to find unique gifts, clothing, and other specialty items.

East Nashville hosts various community events, farmers’ markets, art festivals, and concerts that contribute to its lively and engaging atmosphere.

The neighborhood is home to Nissan Stadium and Shelby Park, a large green space that offers walking trails, sports facilities, and a golf course. This park provides a great opportunity for outdoor activities and recreation.

Over the years, East Nashville has experienced significant growth and gentrification, attracting young professionals, families, and artists. This growth has led to the revitalization of the area and an influx of new businesses and developments.

Best places to stay in East Nashville first time:


7. Music Valley

Music Valley is a family-friendly area located in the northeastern part of Nashville and is known for its vibrant music scene and entertainment options. 

Some of the main attractions in this area include:

  • Grand Ole Opry. This iconic music venue hosts live country music performances and has a rich history dating back to 1925.
  • Opry Mills. A large shopping mall with a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.
  • General Jackson Showboat. An authentic paddlewheel riverboat that offers dinner cruises with live music performances.

The area is well-connected and easily accessible from Nashville International Airport (BNA) and major highways, making it convenient for travelers. Additionally, Downtown Nashville is a 20 minute drive away.

Best places to stay in Nashville in Music Valley:


You can continue reading about Nashvile in these articles:

In conclusion, Downtown, The Gulch, Midtown, West End, Hillsboro Village, East Nashville, and Music Valley are the best places to stay in Nashville for first-time visitors. These are safe neighborhoods, offering plenty of accommodation options for all budget travelers. 

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

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